Asian ambition allures profits to soar high

Monday 02nd October 2017 19:20 EDT

The Sunday Times has published their Top Track 250 list in association with Grant Thornton, ranking mid-market private growth companies. Collectively these companies have hit a profit record of £5.4bn in their latest year of trading, up by 34% in 2016 from the year before. Among these are 9 companies, owned by Brit-Asian entrepreneurs, mainly of Indian origin. These companies with their details mentioned in the list are as follows:

Southall Travels

This West London travel agency was started in 1984, selling flights to British Asians travelling to India. The company is now led by chief executive Kuljinder Bahia, 44, who took over in 1997 at the age of 24. It now arranges flights and package holidays to destinations worldwide, with 365 days and 24 hours service, with growth in markets including the Middle East and Asia.

* Sales £564.3m

* Operating profit £22.2m

* Main shareholders Kuljinder Bahia (54%), Raybon (28%) and Geomex Holding (18%)

* Staff 43

* Founded 1984

* Website

Day Lewis Pharmacy

The Croydon-based group was founded in 1975 by Kirit Patel, who died in July last year, and his brother Jayanti, 71. A pharmacy concession in Harrods, is among more than 250 outlets across southern England run by this family-owned company. It supplies medicines and medical equipment to oil rigs and the shipping industry, and has a wholesale and distribution business.

* Sales £362.7m

* Operating profit £21.1m

* Main shareholders Patel family (100%)

* Staff 2,388

* Founded 1975

* Website

Arora Group

Surinder Arora, 59, founded his company in 1999 after running bed-and-breakfast services for Heathrow’s airline staff. The group's activities comprise of property, construction and a portfolio of eight hotels, including two at Gatwick, three at Heathrow and intercontinental hotel and 101 luxury flats, next to London’s O2 Arena, that opened last year, helping boost sales 48% to £260m this year. In July, Arora put forward its own plans to the government for a new runway and terminal at Heathrow. Its profit of £115m represents a margin of 44%, one of the highest on this league table.

* Sales £260m

* Operating profit £115m

* Main shareholders Surinder Arora (100%)

* Staff 2,000

* Founded 1999

* Website

HKS Retail Limited

Established in 1984 as a single petrol station in Leicestershire, this forecourt operator now has more than 70 sites across the UK. Since 2015, it has grown its footprint by acquiring seven Shell petrol stations as well as Melton-based Brobot Group, which had 23 sites and turnover of £120m. Led by chief executive Shane Thakrar, 33, turnover grew 43% to £225m in 2017 helped by the group’s acquisitions.

* Sales £225m

* Operating profit £6.5m

* Main shareholders Thakrar family (100%)

* Staff 653

* Founded 1984

* Website


The Sodha brothers, Anup, 55, Nitin, 61, and Pankaj, 64, and their nephew Pritesh Sonpal, 48, founded this pharmaceutical wholesaler in 1995. It now supplies 6,500 products to more than 2,000 independent pharmacies from its two fully automated warehouses. Turnover at the Redditch group grew 34% to £200m in 2016, which partly reflected a full year of trading from pharmaceutical business Norchem, acquired in 2015.

* Sales £200m

* Operating profit £13.3m

* Main shareholders Sodha family (77%), Sonpal family (23%)

* Staff 820

* Founded 1995

* Website

Sun Mark Limited

This wholesaling business, set up in 1995 by Dr Rami Ranger CBE, 69, who is its Chairman, supplies a range of household foods to 130 countries, with Africa, the Middle East and East Asia its largest markets. The west London firm makes its own brands and distributes products on behalf of clients including Unilever, Nestlé and Heinz. Investments in its own-label business and expansion into Africa and the Middle East helped profits more than double to £6.3m in 2016.

* Sales £161.1m

* Operating profit £6.3m

* Main shareholders Ranger family (100%)

* Staff 73

* Founded 1995

* Website

Global Tea and Commodities Ltd

Global Tea handles more than 55m kgs of tea annually, at its tea trading offices in Kenya, Malawi, India and the UK. It also provides tea and coffee for the private label market, and trades macadamia nuts. The group is led by founder and chairman Nadeem Ahmed, 62 and has its headquarter in London.

Sales £123.3m

* Operating profit £3.4m

* Main shareholders Structured International Investments Corp (59%), Ceres Investments (16%), Victoria Park Holidays (14%), Nadeen Ahmed (11%)

* Staff 2,774

* Founded 1991

* Website


The Kent based business is owned and run by managing director Rajbir Singh Manak, 50, who first joined the company as a trainee plasterer. Stanmore takes on internal and external finishing projects, such as drywall, facades, glazing and metalwork for building contractors and developers in London and the southeast of England.

* Sales £123.3m

* Operating profit £20.5m

* Main shareholders Rajbir Manak (99%), Harbhajan Manak (1%)

* Staff 216

* Founded 1958

* Website

Millenium Group

Led by Rishi Lakhani, 35, and his brother Shyam, 32, the Essex-based group has a cash-and-carry division and a wholesale branch operating from its 120,000 sq ft warehouse. This family business supplies branded groceries and drinks to UK wholesalers and retailers, and exports to Europe, Africa and the UAE.

* Sales £121.9m

* Operating profit £5.6m

* Main shareholders Panna Mashru (90%), Rishi Lakhani (10%)

* Staff 58

* Founded 1999

* Website

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